As of now, the Supreme Court is hearing all of 13 appeals filed against the 2010 judgment of the Allahabad High Court on the infamous Babri Masjid Dispute in four civil suits. The verdict that mandated a three-way division of the disputed 2.77 acre site which was delivered by Lucknow bench of Allahabad high court is now challenged at the Apex court. The hearing started on 8th march. Though Chief Justice Dipak Misra indicated that the issue would be heard as a pure land dispute, hearing is still pending disposal. While the entire country is waiting for the verdict, spiritual guru Sri Sri Ravi Shankar has been negotiating to settle the issue out of court. Critic Brain is closely following the matter and here are few excerpts of the letters exchanged by the concerned stake holders, as they act to be so.
Sri Sri’s letter to Muslim Personal Law Board
First, Sri Sri, of Art Of Living writes an undated open letter to All India Muslim Personal Law Board inviting them to resolve the matter out of court. Sri Sri, in his letter, presented 4 scenarios of possibilities; first being “the court declaring the site be given to the Hindus for temple construction”, second being “the Hindus lose the case and the entire land is gifted to the Muslims for construction of masjid”, third being “upholding of the Allahabad High Court’s verdict” and the fourth option is that “the government brings about a legislation and builds a temple”. To put it in his words, “in all the four options, whether through the court or through the government, the result will be devastating for the nation at large and the Muslim Community, in particular.”
He writes, “the best solution, according to me, is an out-of-court settlement in which the Muslim bodies come forward and gift one acre of land to the Hindus who in turn will gift five acres of land nearby to the Muslims, to build a better mosque. It is a win-win situation in which the Muslims will not only gain the goodwill of 100 crore Hindus but it will also put this issue to rest once and for all. A palak nama will recognize that this temple has been built with the cooperation of both the Hindus and Muslims. It will put to rest the issue for future generations and coming centuries.”
And he goes on to say that “Going through the court is a loss for both communities. So I reiterate that an out of court settlement will be a win-win situation for both.” One can find the full extracts of the letter here, from which we have not quoted the mincing words of threatening.
What irks a reader are the manner in which these points were presented, the prejudice he has against a certain community and the biased nature of the proposed solution. For a person of Sri Sri’s stature and image, the etiquette of threat is very disappointing, to say the least.
Muslim Law Board’s reply
To the letter, All India Muslim Law Board replies “We expected from you a formula cognate with justice and law. We looked forward to your call for compromise between the concerned parties on the basis of a fair formula. Had you taken such an initiative, the Muslim Personal Law Board would have responded positively to your initiative. However, we regret to note that you have not done so. For long, you have been asking Muslims to abandon their claim. This stance was obviously not acceptable and practical. The same holds true today.” And the Board went on to promptly reply with “What is more regrettable is that you have referred to horrible violence and bloodshed in the event the judgement is for a mosque. You have been thus inciting the terrorist and anti-social elements” and went on to conclude with “It would have been much better if you had raised your voice against injustice and wrongdoers and had come out openly as the champion of the weak and the victims. Such a course of noble and honest action would have certainly led to cordial relations and peace in the country”.
An open letter from Waman Meshram(BAMCEF)
Meanwhile, All India Backward And Minority Classes Employees Federation (BAMCEF) seemed to have found the excerpts of the Sri Sri’s letter on social media and openly replies to Sri Sri’s letter with “It is evident that you are very anxious about the safety of Muslims if they fail to compromise in Babri issue and you were also keen on emphasising on ‘who is right’, Hindus or Muslims. However for us, the aboriginal communities of this land, namely SCs, STs and OBCs, ‘what is right’ is more important than ‘who is right’.”
He took the debate to pre-aryan times with “This land was never the Aryans’ but belonged to the backward classes who were enslaved, divided by the brutality of caste and ruled upon by Aryans.” And he reiterated the debate of unconfirmed archaeological excavations and wished for “more archaeological research to be done on how Buddha Vihars were destroyed or how coloured as sacred places belonging to Brahmins. What we need at this hour are peace, unity and integrity of the nation. The current ruling class doesn’t lose anything but elections if this communal polarization is not done by instigating communal violence. We hope the ruling class brutality will not compel us to seek other means of self-defence.”
Critic Brain’s take on the matter
Being the responsible citizens, we would like to ask these letter writers few simple questions
- Why and how has the issue originally started?
- First of all why do we need a temple or mosque or church there?
- Can we not establish a knowledge center or library or a museum or a school or any monument to promote peace and knowledge, instead of building a construction of idols or religious prejudices?
- What good has this Babri issue done to the society since its’ inception as whole and what good would this verdict or even out of court settlement do for the citizens who want to live in peace and harmony?
- What do they plan to achieve by bringing this issue again and again?
- Who will get benefitted from the issue either way?
- Is Apex court’s handling of the issue adequate and guarding the national interest and national integrity?
Every responsible citizen should think and analyze what is going on in his/her surroundings whether it’s good for the society and humanity as a whole or not and also check the self, well before reacting to these issues on social media platforms or in social gatherings or in public.
Sri Sri Ravishankar has clearly taken a communal stand against the issue both on paper and off. Ravi Shankar ji, Syria has become Syria not because of the religion but because of the self-proclaimed stake holders of the religion and what you are doing is essentially similar what the stake holders did in Syria and with your words on public platforms you basically adding oil to the pyre which is already burning.
Dr. Ambedkar said, the “secularism” is the essence of this constitution that can keep nation united. Secularism was best left undefined and to be interpreted in future by citizens for better use. We being the current generation shall learn and understand the word secularism not in word but in practice so as to co-exist in unity under diversity. In a secular democratic state, it is really a question of having a structure or having the integrity of the nation. Or shall we ask people first or religion first? In my view, the self-proclaimed stake holders of religion are largely diverting masses and disrupting the communal harmony by putting national interest at stake.
To any subset of imagination of the common sensible man, religious interest will never supersede national interest. When a conflict arises between two communities the judgment should be in favor of the nation but not in favor any community. National interest, under any circumstances and any reasonable thinking capacity shall not be compromised.